Saturday, August 13, 2016

Creation of Portable Bead Furnace

In April Erica and I made a portable bead furnace using a handout from Keely Tinker of the Mid (this post has a few pictures of Tinker making the furnace at Pennsic). 

Marion and Thomas let us use their yard and workshop. Below are some pictures of us making the bead furnace and using it. Video of us using the furnace is also included below. 

Drilling several rows of holes in a large food can. Screws were inserted halfway into the holes and acted as rebar to hold clay that was applied to the inside and outside of the can.

To make the furnace we used the same basic clay mixture we used at Pennsic last year (see previous blog post) but with the addition of one part straw. We used the kiln over this weekend, and at two other SCA events, before it started to crack, and then, only slightly.

The finished kiln. A large hole was drilled and a small pipe fitting inserted for the bellows. We used an air mattress pump. The hole should be slightly higher, as we ended up getting a build up of ash inside it. We can fix that next time.

Cowboy brand hardwood charcoal was used as the fuel source. We had to add coal after making one or two beads, but overall, the furnace worked well.
Finished beads. We used 132 Coe glass. We did make one or two beads, not shown with 104 COE glass. It worked, but the 132 was much easier and faster to work with, as it was softer and melted at a lower temperature.